Distinguishing Providing Public Services from Receiving Government Funding as Factors in Nonprofit Advocacy

Article appearing in VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

  • Co-Author:
  • Robert Pekkanen with Itaru Yanagi, Yohei Kobashi & Yutaka Tsujinaka
  • Publisher: Springer
  • Date: 2021

This study innovates by introducing a conceptual distinction between the provision of public services and the receipt of government funding. The study also provides empirical analysis to show that public service provision, independent of government funding, is associated with greater nonprofit advocacy. There are implications for previous studies of nonprofit advocacy, our understanding of the mechanism of nonprofit advocacy, and the role that organizational mission may play in leading organizations to engage in advocacy. Previous studies exploring the effect of government funding on nonprofit advocacy have perceived the provision of public services as being identical to the receipt of government funding. In contrast, our analysis distinguishes between providing public services and receiving government funding. Empirically, the study also uses survey questions differentiating the two in the JIGS international datasets to investigate the relationship. This study examines the effect of the provision of public services by nonprofit organizations on nonprofit advocacy in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and the USA. We conducted a logistic regression analysis using nonprofit advocacy as the dependent variable. The analysis revealed two key points. First, public service alone and distinct from government funding enhances nonprofit advocacy. Second, public service provision had positive effects on advocacy, not only in the USA but also in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, which each feature a different institutional context. In conclusion, we suggest that organizational mission could be a more important driver of nonprofit advocacy than previous studies have found.